Relationship violence and sexual assault policy
(Sexual Assault, Dating Violence, Domestic Violence, Stalking)
Message from the Dean of Campus Life
Arizona Western College (AWC) is an educational community bound by common standards of conduct and their commitment to stated educational missions. The tenets of AWC (honor, responsibility, trustworthiness, and respect) are essential components of healthy relationships. The campus community is a place where interpersonal relationships and/or close personal contacts are developed and nurtured. Violence is an unacceptable pattern of behavior and will not be tolerated against any student, faculty, staff, or guest of the college. Unwanted or undesired attention or contact by one person to another, whether initiated by a former intimate relationship or an unrequited relationship, is also not acceptable on campus. Any student, faculty or staff member who conducts such behavior will be dealt with according to campus disciplinary procedures. Such types of behavior are defined below; along with the consequential procedures and rights. This policy shall not be construed to conflict or supersede the Arizona Western College Sexual Harassment policies.
Statement of Purpose: The purpose of the AWC Relationship Violence Policy is to identify resources for victims of sexual assault and/or sexual misconduct, sexual exploitation, domestic and/or dating violence, and/or stalking; to define relationship violence offenses; and to outline the colleges’ student conduct process for violations of the relationship violence policy. All students are subject to this policy. Additionally, AWC/ recognizes that anyone can be a victim or offender regardless of gender or gender identification. Relationship violence can occur with both opposite sex and same sex participants regardless of race, religion and socio-economic status.
CONFIDENTIALITY: AWC will make every reasonable effort possible to preserve an individual’s privacy and protect confidentiality, EXCEPT in incidences where weapons are involved, or where there is a threat to the greater campus community.
The degree to which confidentiality can be protected depends upon the professional role of the person being consulted. A victim may speak confidentially with Student Health and Wellness Services, professional psychological counselors, medical staff and clergy. Information shared with other individuals is not legally protected from being disclosed. For example, some members of the institution may need to inform other individuals in order to protect community safety, the rights of other community members, or in response to legal requirements as referred in the exceptions above. Additionally, in accordance with the Clergy Act (Addendum), all campus employees are required to report incidents of relationship violence to Campus Police. Such reports are for statistical purposes only and do not have to include identities. In off –campus legal proceedings, the institutions cannot guarantee or protect the confidentiality of the parties involved.
REPORTING POLICIES: Victims of interpersonal violence are encouraged to report incidents. Institution personnel will not discourage anyone from reporting, encourage him or her to under-report, or report the incident as a lesser offense.
Option 1: Confidential Disclosure
The Student Health and Wellness Services offer assistance by providing support to individuals who have been victimized. A professional staff member or Peer Mentor who is a trained student, faculty or staff member, is available to assist students in weighing options and associated risks, discussing possible next steps, obtaining information about available resources and services on or off campus and/or can assist students if the student decides to make an official report. Students are not expected or required to pursue a specific course of action.
Option 2: Official Reporting
Victims can make an official report to Campus Police and/or The Yuma County Sheriff’s Office. Official reporting may initiate a course of action, such as the student conduct process and/or filing criminal charges. When a student files a report with Campus police, the Dean of Campus Life Development will be notified, and will make certain that individual and community safety is addressed. When victims report an off-campus crime, institution personnel will cooperate with law enforcement efforts in obtaining, securing and maintaining evidence necessary in legal proceedings.
Official complaints against employees will be reported to the Office of Human Resources for investigation and appropriate action
If the complaint is against a person who is not a member of the college community, the victim can speak with the AWC/Student Health and Wellness Services and Campus Police to discuss options such as but not limited to, contacting additional law enforcement authorities or trespassing the individual from campus. If, the person being accused is a guest of a student, faculty, or non-faculty employee, the incident may also be addressed with the person who hosted the individual.
Upon filing a complaint, respect will be given to the desired course of action that the victim desires. AWC will provide victims with non-judgmental support to guide their healing process and will empower them to make personal decisions in regard to their involvement in any course of action pursued by AWC or law enforcement. This “victim-centered” approach is not in violation of any state or federal laws.
AWC reserves the right to, when necessary and regardless of reporting method and/or victim participation, enact temporary safety measures against any person accused of relationship violence including at a minimum but not limited to, officially requesting no contact between the person accused and the person who reported victimization. The AWC reserves the right to alter, suspend and/or otherwise restrict the accused's access to campus property and/or participation in campus events, including but not limited to use of Webmail and/or other campus technology services, attendance of classes and campus residency
Complaints may be investigated on the basis of either a statement from the alleged victim or a witness’s statement or complaint (e.g., residence hall staff, faculty, staff, or another student). The person who reported the incident(s) and all witnesses will be asked to contribute their statements and any information to assist in the resolution of the complaint. The person who reports the victimization has the right to withdraw from the investigation at any time. The College may proceed with disciplinary action even when the person who reports the victimization voluntarily chooses not to participate in the process.
Retaliation Prohibited: Retaliation against any person who reports or participates in a report and/or investigation of sexual assault/misconduct, domestic/dating violence, sexual exploitation or stalking is strictly prohibited. Retaliation constitutes a violation of student conduct policy and may also violate state and federal laws.
DEFINITION OF TERMS. The following definitions are applicable to the College Policy governing Relationship Violence. These definitions are not intended to reflect state and federal laws and/or definitions and are reflective of the needs of the comprehensive needs of the campus community. See Addendum: Federal and State Regulations, for a summary of Arizona State Penal Statutes regarding Sexual and Domestic Violence Offenses.
a. "Sexual contact" means any touching or oral contact of sexual or other intimate parts (including the female breast). Sexual contact includes but is not limited to the touching of an individual by the victim, touching of the victim by an individual, or telling a victim to touch him or herself whether directly or through clothing.
b. "Sexual intercourse" means any sexual contact between the penis and vagina, the penis and the anus, the penis and the vulva, the mouth and penis, the mouth and the vulva, or any intrusion, however slight, by any part of a person’s body or any foreign object into the genital or anal opening of another.
c. "Mentally or physically incapacitated" means that a person is rendered temporarily or permanently incapable of appraising or controlling his or her conduct due to but not limited to the following: persons who are intoxicated, passed out, asleep, threatened, coerced, unconscious, or physically unable to communicate unwillingness to act for any reason. A person who is rendered temporarily or permanently incapable of making decisions for any reason, or is otherwise unable to give clear consent, is considered incapacitated. This may be caused by, but is not limited to, administration or use of alcohol or other drugs.
d. "Forcible compulsion or coercion" means to compel or force one to act based on pressure, threats, intimidation or the use of physical force, either expressed or implied which places a person in fear of immediate death, physical injury to himself, herself or another person, places a person in fear that he, she or another person will immediately be kidnapped, or places a person in fear of personal, emotional, social, economic, or academic harm.
e. Foreign object means any instrument or article used or attempted to be used in a sexual manner or on an intimate part of the body.
f. Voyeurism is a practice in which an individual derives sexual pleasure from observing other people.
g. Peeping Tommery is the practice of observing individuals without consent, which may or may not be sexual in nature.
h. Indecent exposure, is a practice in which individual exposes their genitals or anus or a female exposes the areola or nipple of her breast or breasts and another person is present to these acts, and the individual is reckless about whether the other person present, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.
i. Public sexual indecency is a practice in which an individual intentionally or knowingly engages in an act of sexual contact, sexual intercourse or bestiality, if another person is present, and the individual is reckless about whether such other person, as a reasonable person, would be offended or alarmed by the act.
j. “Consent” is defined as a verbal agreement and positive physical cooperation in the course of EACH ACT of sexual contact or sexual intercourse, so long as both parties are acting freely and voluntarily. Consent can be withdrawn by either party at any time. A previous sexual relationship, and/or current relationship with a partner, may not, in themselves, be taken to imply consent. Consent may not be inferred from silence, passivity, or lack of active resistance alone. Use of alcohol or drugs shall not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent, and does not excuse conduct that constitutes sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault under this policy.
k. “Lack of Consent” exists if any of the following conditions exist:
If a party either verbally or physically expresses his/her intention not to engage in sexual contact and/or intercourse.
Failing to obtain consent to each form of sexual contact.
Any party is unable to provide consent due to physical or mental incapacitation as defined in this section.
If at any time during sexual contact or intercourse, there is any confusion and ambiguity regarding consent.
Sexual contact or intercourse is initiated through forcible compulsion or coercion, as defined in this section, or when any party is mentally or physically incapacitated.
If any party is under the age of seventeen (17).
If any party is mentally disabled.
Any party under the care of any college department charged with the care and well-being of said party.
Any other condition where a reasonable person should know that a party has refused or is incapable due to level of impairment, of giving consent to engage in any form of sexual contact.
Special Note: Consent and the use of alcohol and/or other drugs:
The use of alcohol and/or other drugs can have unintended consequences. Alcohol or other drugs can lower inhibitions and create an atmosphere of confusion over whether consent is freely and validly given. For the purposes of this policy, the perspective of a reasonable person will be the basis for determining whether one should have known about the impact of the use of alcohol and/or drugs on another’s ability to give consent.
Being intoxicated or under the influence of other substances is never an excuse for sexual misconduct of any form and does not diminish one’s responsibility to obtain consent.
Sexual intimacy requires mutual participation in an environment of affirmative consent. Members of the college community are expected to maintain ethical standards of trustworthiness and respect for others. Behavior on the part of a member of the college community that constitutes sexual assault is a violation of college policy and will not be tolerated.
Sexual Misconduct for the purposes of this policy is the commission of an unwanted sexual act involving intentional non-consensual sexual contact with another person. Sexual misconduct encompasses a range of behaviors including but not limited to inappropriate touching of a person’s breasts/chest, buttocks, inner thighs, groin, or genitalia, either directly or indirectly, indecent exposure, public sexual indecency, and sexual assault.
Sexual Assault for the purposes of this policy is sexual intercourse without consent occurring through forcible compulsion or coercion. Sexual assault occurs when a person knows or should reasonably know that consent is unable to be obtained. Alleged charges of sexual assault will also compel concurrent charges of Sexual Misconduct and Sexual Harassment.
Sexual Exploitation for the purposes of this policy is when a person takes non-consensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for his/her own gain or benefit; or for the gain or benefit of anyone other than the one being exploited. This behavior must not otherwise constitute a violation of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Examples of sexual exploitation may include but are not limited to prostituting another person, non-consensual video or audio-taping of sexual activity, unauthorized presentation of such recordings, allowing others to observe a personal act of consensual sex, without knowledge or consent of the partner, engaging in peeping-tommery, voyeurism, and knowingly transmitting an STD or HIV to another student.
AWC will not tolerate the violation of a person’s right to feel safe and secure while they are a student on the AWC/ campus, campus affiliations, or attending institutional activities. AWC will not tolerate activities that disrupt the learning environment of the offender’s intentioned target or those within their immediate and affected vicinity.
Relationship abuse interferes with the College’s educational mission and with students’ aspirations and abilities by:
Causing emotional and/or physical harm to community members;
Contributing to an atmosphere of fear and distrust;
Offending the dignity and violating the autonomy of community members;
Disrupting the academic progress of partners and/or partners.
Relationship Abuse occurs when there is a pattern of coercive behaviors that serves to exercise control and power in a relationship between two individuals. The coercive and abusive behaviors can be physical, sexual, psychological, verbal and/or emotional. Relationship abuse can occur between current or former partners who have dated (regardless of level of intimacy), have a child and/or pregnancy in common, been married, or shared a residence. It can occur in opposite-sex and same-sex relationships. Relationship abuse is sometimes also referred to as intimate partner violence, domestic violence, or dating violence.
For the purposes of this policy and related procedures, the term relationship abuse encompasses but is not limited to one or more of the following behaviors directed toward a current or former intimate partner:
(1) Attempting to cause or causing bodily injury or offensive physical contact, e.g., slapping, pulling hair, punching, sexual misconduct and/or sexual assault;
(2) Knowingly restricting the movements of another person, e.g., removing a person from residence or school, isolating or confining a person for a substantial period, monitoring phone calls or email, preventing a person from attending class or interfering with studying;
(3) Attempting to place or placing another person in fear through a course of conduct, e.g., criminal damage, threatening, manipulating, intimidating, verbally and/or emotionally abusive behaviors, disorderly conduct harassment, stalking or exhibiting extreme possessiveness or jealousy.
Domestic Violence “Felony or misdemeanor crimes of violence committed by a current or a former spouse of a victim, by a person with whom the victim shares a child in common, by a person who is cohabitating with or has cohabited with the victim as a spouse, by a person similar situated to a spouse of the victim under the domestic or family violence laws of the jurisdiction… or by any other person against an adult or youth victims who is protected from that person’s acts under the domestic or family violence laws of jurisdiction.”
Stalking occurs when a person engages in a course of conduct directed toward another person and knows or should reasonably know that such conduct is likely to alarm, harass, or cause reasonable fear of harm or injury in that person, or in a third party. The feared harm of injury may be to physical, emotional or mental health, personal safety, property, education, or employment. Stalking may include, but is not limited to, unwanted visual or physical proximity to a person, repeatedly conveying oral or written threats, extorting money or valuables, implicitly threatening physical conduct, or any combination of these behaviors directed at or toward a person. All incidents of stalking will be taken seriously. When the stalker is anonymous, the AWC/ will investigate as thoroughly as possible using all available resources. Students who think they are being stalked are entitled to the same victim’s rights as outlined in this policy. Some examples of stalking type behavior include but are not limited to:
Unwelcome communication, including, but not limited to: face-to-face, telephone, voice message, electronic mail, written letter, and/or contact; unwelcome gifts or flowers, etc.;
Threatening or obscene gestures;
“Peeping-tommery” (as defined in this policy);
Voyeurism (as defined in this policy);
Unwelcome touching or physical contact;
Gaining unauthorized access to personal, medical, financial and/or other identifying information, including, but not limited to: access by computer network, mail, telephone or written communication.
Cyber-stalking is an extension of the physical form of stalking where electronic media such as the internet, pagers, cell phones, or other similar devices are used to pursue, harass or to make unwanted contact with another person in an unsolicited fashion and will not be tolerated. Some examples of cyber stalking include but are not limited to; unwanted/unsolicited emails or instant messages, disturbing messages on on-line bulletin boards, unsolicited communications about a person, their family, friends or co-workers, or sending/posting disturbing messages with another username.
Alleged Victim’s Rights
GRIEVANT/VICTIM RIGHTS: Alleged victims of relationship offenses can be assured that all reports will be taken seriously and the alleged victim will be treated with dignity, respect, and in a non-judgmental manner.
ALL alleged victims have the following rights
The right to be notified of available on- and off-campus victim resources, including medical assistance, mental health and counseling services.
The right to be informed of their options to notify proper law enforcement authorities, and the option to be assisted by campus police or other college officials, in notifying such authorities, if the student so chooses. The student conduct process is not dependent on complaints filed elsewhere.
The right to request immediate on-campus housing relocation, academic supports, or other steps to prevent unnecessary or unwanted contact or proximity to an alleged student when reasonably available.
The right to request that the alleged offender be immediately relocated or removed from campus housing and/or shared academic classes. This right is afforded only to alleged victims that complete an official report within 72 hours of request for relocation of the alleged offender. The official report will initiate an investigation and any further course of action deemed necessary by the college and/or local law enforcement to determine responsibility and/or criminal accountability
In certain situations, it may be necessary to issue a temporary injunction against an individual alleged to have violated one or more provisions of this Code, particularly when the Code violation involves a potentially dangerous or damaging situation. Pending resolution of alleged charges, the Conduct Officer may issue an order to the student prohibiting any future conduct specified in the order.
Issuance of a temporary injunction shall not be deemed an indication or ruling on the merits as to whether the student did or did not engage in conduct in violation of this Code. A temporary injunction may be issued in one of the following forms:
Cease and Desist Order: The student is issued an official verbal warning and is ordered to refrain from provoking or participating in any incident involving further violation of the Code. A student may be issued a Cease and Desist order at the discretion of the Conduct Officer and may also receive a sanction at a subsequent Conduct meeting, whether informal or a Formal Conduct Hearing.
Interim Suspension: A student receiving an interim suspension will immediately be required to vacate College property and shall be restricted from all College activities. An interim suspension may be imposed if the Dean of Campus Life or the Coordinator of Residential Life – serving as the Conduct Officer – determines that reasonable cause exists to believe that the student presents a real or potential danger to himself or herself, any other person, or to property. An interim suspension shall remain in effect only until a Conduct meeting can be held. It is the responsibility of a suspended residence hall student to secure alternate living accommodations and/or travel arrangements during the term of any interim suspension imposed. It is also the student’s responsibility to inform the Conduct Officer of his/her address during the period of interim suspension.
AWC recognizes that formal hearings regarding offenses of the above nature can be especially difficult for the alleged victim. Therefore, the following victim’s standards have been established to protect the victim’s rights during the accused offender’s disciplinary process and formal hearings.
The alleged victim has the right to be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse.
The alleged victim may request the presence of a person who he/she designates as a supporter, whose purpose will be to provide emotional and moral support as needed during processes and any hearings at which the victim has the right to be present.
The alleged victim has the right not to have his or her irrelevant sexual history discussed during the hearing.
The alleged victim has the right to make a "victim impact statement" to the disciplinary authority. This statement is in addition to the description of the incident. Both documents may be considered in the assignment of sanctions and/or during the any hearing when such information is deemed pertinent in determining whether a violation of college code of conduct has occurred.
The alleged victim has the right to provide all statements in during the hearing in person or via closed circuit TV.
The alleged victim has the right to be informed of the outcome of the hearing within 48 hours of hearing conclusion.
Should the offender be found responsible and suspended or expelled from attending classes or from being on campus, and he/she is later reinstated, the victim has the right to be notified of the offender’s change of status at the college if the victim is still a student with either AWC.
THE CONSEQUENCES AND DISCIPLINARY PROCESSES
In addition to any criminal processes and penalties pursued by a state prosecuting agency, members of the college community who engage in sexual misconduct, sexual assault, domestic or dating violence, or stalking as listed in Student Code of Conduct against either an AWC student, are subject to disciplinary action by the appropriate college disciplinary hearing officers.
AWC disciplinary hearing officer reserves the right to determine responsibility on the part of the offender by standards that are not restricted to local or state laws; the standard of responsibility is held to a standard of “more likely than not” to have committed the alleged offense. The disciplinary hearing officer is not held to the same due process regulations as a State or Federal prosecuting agency. Each institutional due process procedure and discipline standards are determined by the individual campus discipline committee. Responsibility for pursuing campus disciplinary actions involving students rests with the campus disciplinary authorities. The campus has jurisdiction over offenses by students that occur on AWC property, locations in the immediate vicinity of the campus, and at official institutional functions.
Pending a formal disciplinary hearing, the campus may take a variety of administrative measures against a charged student, including but not limited to restriction of privileges and services, interim suspension, and exclusion from certain campus areas, such as classrooms, residence facilities, or business buildings. To prevent further conflict between the parties, the campus may utilize administrative reassignment procedures to move individuals to another residence hall, limit access to a specific area during the course of a campus or criminal investigation, or make academic accommodations as appropriate for either party.
A hearing in a case concerning allegations of any of the offenses listed above may be closed to the public if the hearing body determines that the privacy rights of a witness, including those of the individual who reports being victimized, may otherwise be jeopardized. There is a range of possible educational and punitive disciplinary actions that can be pursued by AWC for a student found responsible for interpersonal violence.
Sanctions and Stipulations
Sanctions are penalties that may result from the violation of one or more Articles of Prohibited Conduct as a consequence of a Formal Conduct Hearing.. Stipulations are terms that may be imposed upon a student as a condition of resuming or continuing studies at the College. When a student has violated one or more of the Articles of Prohibited Conduct, an informal resolution – an agreement between the Conduct Officer and the student – may include stipulations such as: reflective papers, on-line education courses, community service, workshops etc.
The sanctions imposed following a Formal Conduct Hearing that follow are listed in order of severity. As the result of a disciplinary hearing the Dean of Campus Life may choose to issue any sanction, in a given case, as deemed warranted by the evidence in that particular case and the student’s cumulative disciplinary record.
Sanctions resulting from a Formal Disciplinary Hearing include:
6.1.1 Probation: An order to comply strictly with the provisions of this Code for a specified period of time. An individual on probation is permitted to continue as a student, but is warned that any further Code violation may result in the imposition of more severe sanctions, including suspension or expulsion.
6.1.2 Suspension: A suspension is a sanction that, for a specified period of time, (i) requires a student not to be on College property, (ii) excludes the student from all academic courses and activities, and (iii) prohibits the student from attending or participating in any College function or activity. A suspension shall not exceed three years in length. For a student who receives a disciplinary action of suspension, the institution will administratively withdraw him or her from all academic course work effective when the suspension is to go into effect. A student who receives a suspension may also be subject to stipulations that apply (i) during the term of the suspension,
(ii) during the term of the suspension as well as for a defined period of time thereafter, and/or (iii) following the term of the suspension, with the student’s readmission being conditioned on compliance with such stipulations.
6.1.3 Expulsion: An expulsion is a sanction that involves the permanent exclusion of a student from (i) College property, (ii) all academic courses and activities, and (iii) the right to attend or participate in any College function or activity.
As a result of a Code violation, a student may be ordered to comply with the provisions of one or more of the following types of stipulations either separately or in conjunction with a sanction:
6.2.1 Restitution: A monetary assessment in any case in which a violation of this Code has caused loss or damage may require restitution to the College. Failure to make a required payment during the allotted time may result in further disciplinary action by the College.
6.2.2 Restriction: Forfeiture, denial, curtailment, or limitation of specific privileges, services or access to facilities provide provided for students through the College (including but not limited to campus housing and food service) for a specified period of time.
6.2.3 Service: An order to provide a specified service, relevant to the Code violation for a specified period of time, to the College community.
6.24.4 Education: Self-improvement activities such as online education courses, reflective papers, or completion of other training relevant to the Code violations
Process to Appeal a Sanction or Stipulation
Appeals for Formal Conduct Hearing:
Except as required to explain the basis of new information, an appeal shall be limited to a review of the student conduct file or proceedings. The audio recording of the Conduct Hearing shall be available during the review process as necessary. The review shall be for one or more of the following purposes:
To determine whether the Formal Conduct Hearing was conducted in conformity with prescribed procedures giving the complainant and investigating Conduct Officer a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present information that the AWC Student Code of Conduct was violated, and giving the accused student a reasonable opportunity to prepare and to present a response to those allegations.
To consider new information, sufficient to alter a decision, or other relevant facts not brought out in the original hearing, because such information and/or facts were not known to the person appealing at the time of the original Formal Conduct Hearing.
If an appeal is upheld by the appellate body, the matter shall either be referred to the Conduct Officer for re-opening of the Formal Conduct Hearing to allow reconsideration of the original determination or the appellate body will determine any change in sanctions. If an appeal is not upheld, the matter shall be considered final and binding upon all involved.
The appellate body reviewing any appeal will be appointed by the Dean of Campus Life.
See the Arizona Western College Student Code of Conduct handbook for complete details for “Resolution of Alleged Code Violations”
Accused Offender’s Rights:
If you are alleged to have committed a violation of this policy, you may face administrative action of removal or relocation of campus housing and/or academic accommodations pending an investigation and filing of charges.
If you have been accused of, or charged with any of the previously mentioned offenses, you may seek advice and assistance from a competent legal representative. If you have been charged with a violation of the Arizona Western College Code of Student Conduct, you will be contacted by campus assigned authorities that will explain the procedures, your rights and options.
If you are accused of a sexual offense, relationship violence or stalking, you are entitled to due process as defined by the institution and must be given notice of, and a full opportunity to respond to, the allegations made against you.
If disciplinary action is imposed, you may appeal that determination to the Vice President of Academic and Student Services and/or the Institutional Appeals Committee.